14 April 2012

The road to The Hague is paved with... buttercream

As promised, I have recipes for you from The Royal Feast. Bon Appétit!

Outfit tomorrow; unless I'm lying, like last time.

Warm Mushroom and Arugula Salad with Roasted Polenta
Inspired by The Omnivorous Fox
  • 4 cups cooked polenta, made with vegetable stock instead of water
  • 1 Tbsp chili sauce (Sriracha, Tobasco, etc.)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms of your choice
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 6 oz dry red wine
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup cream
  • 2 large bunches fresh basil, torn
  • 2 large bunches  fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups arugula, loosely packed 
  • 1 cup mache or other mild greens
  • buffalo mozzarella, drained and cut into 1" chunks
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (NOT suitable for vegetarians)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard 
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Pre-heat your broiler to high.
  2. First, butter dishes to hold and chill your cooked polenta - I used six four-inch ramekins. Make the polenta and pour it into your prepared dish(es), then refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour so it stays intact for further cooking and cutting.
  3. While the polenta is chilling, prepare the greens. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and honey, then slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking, until incorporated. Toss the vinaigrette with the greens, parmesan, and mozzarella. 
  4. Wash and chop all the mushrooms. Heat some olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat; when it is hot, add the garlic, thyme sprigs, and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have started to brown, then add red wine and cook until the alcohol smell is gone (1-2 min). Pour in the soy sauce, cream, and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated (about 10 minutes). 
  5. Salt + pepper to taste, then discard the thyme. Set aside (either keep it on low heat while you cook the polenta, or warm it just before you serve).
  6. Carefully slide the polenta rounds out of the ramekins and into a roasting pan or glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on each round. Flip and repeat. Broil on a high oven rack until golden and crisp, then flip and repeat. When both sides are done, cut each round into six wedges.
  7. Top your prepared greens with the mushroom mixture (warm if necessary). Scatter the polenta wedges over the salad, and serve.
 Spinach-Quinoa Bake with Savory Streusel
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats + 1 Tbsp for dusting
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (or other flour of your choice)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 stick butter, very cold (use this converter for ounce/gram/stick quandary)
  • 1 pound spinach, leaves picked and washed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onion, entire length chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon picked fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • splash white wine
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked quinoa), made according to package directions
  • 1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with olive oil. Dust with 1 Tbsp oats; shake off and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  3. As you're waiting for the water to heat, prepare the streusel: whisk together oats, flour, garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into the oat mixture until chunks are mostly pea-sized.
  4. Once your water is boiling, add spinach; blanch until bright green, about 10 seconds. Rinse in colander under cold water. When spinach is cold, remove from ice bath, squeeze out all water, and finely chop; set aside.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and red-pepper flakes, and saute until soft and fragrant but not browned, about 8 minutes.  Add white wine and cook until the alcohol smell is gone. Add tomato and cook for another 8-10 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat; transfer to a medium bowl.
  6. Add spinach, quinoa, cottage cheese, and pepper to the onion mixture. Salt to taste, then stir in eggs until well combined.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, evening top with a spatula. Top with streusel, and and place in the oven. Bake until set and edges are brown, 60 to 70 minutes. Slice, and serve warm or at room temperature. 
 Banana Cream Pie with Ginger Meringue

Adapted from Food.com

  • 1 nine-inch pie shell, baked (I used this recipe but added 1 tsp freshly ground cinnamon to the dough. It's the best pie crust I've ever made.)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten (reserve the whites for the meringue)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon best quality vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (high quality makes all the difference in taste; I buy Taylor & Colledge from Kelly's Expat Shopping.)
  • 4 bananas, thinly sliced
  • 3 egg whites 
  • 1/3 tsp. cream of tartar 
  • 1/3 c. sugar 
  • 1 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1 tsp. best-quality vanilla extract

  1. Bake the pie crust: Once the dough is in your pie plate and crimped, line the entire crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. This will help your pie crust keep its shape. Bake at 400F/200C for 5 minutes, or until biscuit-brown. Remove beans/weights and parchment, then bake another 5-6 minutes. If the crust puffs up during baking, gently pat it down with a spoon.
  2. In a large saucepan, scald the milk and cream (tutorial here).
  3. In another saucepan, combine the sugar, flour and salt; gradually stir in the scalded milk.
  4. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, cook until thickened. 
  5. Cover and, stirring occasionally, cook for two minutes longer.
  6. In a small bowl, have the 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten, ready; stir a small amount of the hot mixture into beaten yolks; when thoroughly combined, stir yolks into hot mixture.
  7. Cook for one minute longer, stirring constantly. 
  8. Remove from heat and blend in the butter and vanilla.
  9. Let sit until lukewarm.
  10. When ready to pour, slice bananas and scatter in pie shell; pour warm mixture over bananas. Using a spoon, shift bananas around a bit to make sure mixture reaches the bottom. Be careful not to disturb the crust.
  11. Prepare the meringue: preheat oven to 400F/200C/175C (fan). Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy (I did this by hand because my beautiful Kitchenaid stand mixer is woefully in storage in the U.S., but if you have an electric mixer, for God's sake, USE IT. This took much longer than just whipping egg whites.) 
  12. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until sugar is dissolved and glossy peaks form (they should almost stand straight on their own, bending at the top). At this point, your meringue should look like this. Whisk in ginger.
  13. Spoon onto banana mixture, swirling the top as you'd like, and bake in preheated oven until delicately browned, 5-8 minutes.
Carrot Cake with Whipped Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted ever so slightly from The Smitten Kitchen

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups finely grated peeled carrots*
  • Two tubs (12 oz total) whipped cream cheese**
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots. Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper (I stumbled across this nifty little tip for lining pans). Butter and flour the pans and paper, tapping out excess flour. 
  3. Divide batter evenly between pans, and bake the layers for about 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off waxed paper; cool cakes completely, then freeze for an hour or two before leveling and frosting. The Smitten Kitchen provides a really wonderful list of tips for layer cakes, which includes some help on leveling.)
  4. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting: Beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Fold in whipped cream. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.
  5. After leveling, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the sides and top, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set up frosting. (My cake did just fine in the refrigerator overnight, if you're making it in advance.)
*Finely grating the carrots gives the cake a really nice texture (no carrot chunks), and a uniform consistency. I highly recommend doing so, which, although it takes a bit more time than throwing them in a food processor, is so worth it.

**I added the whipped cream because I couldn't find any regular cream cheese here in Holland; it was all the whipped kind in tubs, which makes for a runny glaze instead of frosting. The whipped cream stabilizes the frosting and makes it able to be piped. What happened flavor-wise was beautiful; the cream cheese and maple flavors remained but became more subtle, and the frosting wasn't as overly sweet. I got a bunch of compliments on it; what started as a near-crisis turned into a permanent change to the way I make carrot cake! :)